IMG_2224As Halloween approaches, a fair warning goes out to all anglers. BEWARE! The Snag Monsters have grown in size and await their next meal………

This article is about a sub-species of Snag Monster living in the Brule River. The latin name Bruleus devouorus is well known throughout the region and is responsible for the heinous deaths of millions of flies, spawn sacks, night crawlers, rapalas, flat fish, spinners, spoons and their associated hooks. The appetite of this beast is insatiable and also will feed hardily on lead, tin, alloy metals, slinky rigs, monofilament, fluorocarbon, gel spun poly and fire wire. Anglers, some knowingly and some unaware of its presence, have continued to foolishly challenge Bruleus devourous and only added to its ever increasing population and size. To date there is no known control except angler irradiation, in which case Bruleus devourous would don another name like rock, log, brush pile or hunk of old manmade junk sitting in the bottom of the river.

IDENTIFICATION CHARACTERISTICS

Color and Movement

Snag Monsters are cleverly camouflaged to the angler from above the water¬ís surface. They use the tea stained water of the Brule to mask their true appearance from the unknowing fishermen and women. Viewed from below the water they take on the color and movement of a bad acid trip. Although I have never taken one of these trips, I have seen pictures in books and re-enactments on popular television, finding it a fitting analogy. Adorned with the line colors from UV Stren, brilliant red Fire Wire, chartreuse Berkley Big Game Trilene, and the almost invisible fluorocarbon, the uneven length tentacles of Bruleus devourous undulate hypnotically in the current. The myriad of colored hooks that are snugly attached to the shell and tentacles of B. devourous waggle and twist as the water pulses them back and forth. The hooks sparkle, each at its own time, as the light penetrates the monsters lair. The variety of metal weights, along with the tentacles hooks, clank and chatter as if teeth calling for their next victim. The sound is relentless and continues day and night. The fly dressings that are held tightly by the Monster cover the colors of the rainbow and beyond. The natural and unnatural materials move in harmony and confusion adding to the danger of the beast. The crank baits flutter and dart, and the stench of rotting, locally harvested, hellgrammites, spawn sacks, stone flies, and night crawlers captured by the Monster rivals the stink of any catfish bait. These characteristics can attract the likes of the rivers largest steelhead but spell certain doom for the angler. Be fearful when floating through the monster’s domain!

Size, Shape and Habitat

Snag Monsters come in all sizes and shapes. Their ability to grow is unlimited and based strictly on feeding off unsuspecting anglers. Many are fed from dawn to dusk and on weekends their ability to catch angler offerings doubles. B. devourous lives in all types of water and generally places itself near the best Steelhead holding lies. The monsters hide better in high water, appear closer than one thinks, and are found by new anglers more often than seasoned anglers aware of their looming presence. A word to the wise… Take twice the number of flies on a trip to the Brule than you would normally take on any other fishing trip. Bruleus devourous will eat at least half of them and strike fear in the heart of any fly angler that buys all of his/her steelhead flies instead of tying them. This fear comes when anglers realize how much money this trip is actually costing them. Many are seen weeping bank side, cussing uncontrollably or fishing with bass flies because it is all they have left in their fly box.

A word on Snag Balls:

Snag Balls are portions of Snag Monsters that sometimes break loose from the main body of the monster. Occasionally, when anglers have done battle with Bruleus devourous, they win the fight. They not only retrieve their flies, but tug loose a ball of flies and hardware fit for a king’s random. Anglers have reported pulling as many as 200 flies away from the tight grasp of B. devourous. This twisted and tangled mess is considered a trophy by many and is lauded during the evening story telling session at the local watering hole. Upon restoration and sorting of these flies, anglers have been known to feed them back to the monsters on the next day. This considerable bonus, captured in the heat of battle, makes up for some of the additional flies needed for the next trip to the river.

Steelhead and Snag Monsters

Steelhead and Snag Monsters have a symbiotic relationship. During their annual runs, steelhead recognize Snag Monsters as beacons or road signs directing them on their long journey up stream. The wild color, eerie movement, and large size are easily spotted and provide non-aggressive holding and sheltering lies for the trout. The fish also use the snag monsters for educational purposes. Here attached to the beasts body they can view and study the plethora of food items and imitations anglers are using this year to tempt their hunger. This schooling is conducted by elder fish who have made this journey before in hopes of creating a smarter steelhead nation. This learning process gives steelhead the reputation for being smart, finicky, and extremely wary.

In return for their non-aggressive behavior towards the fish, the steelhead continue to let it be known that they congregate around Snag Monsters resulting in continuous daily feeding for the beasts.

Snag Monsters WILL eat your flies. They can snap 2X tippet in a heart beat and leave you standing there looking stupid, holding only your rod in you hand. This year alone, it is estimated that B. devourous has eaten over 250,000 flies and counting. Be careful out there, the Monster lurks around every bend…….